For some unknown reason, we’ve built up “retirement” as the final goal in life, a reward of sorts for a life well lived and well planed for. Somewhere, somehow, our society has conjured up the belief that we simply MUST “have enough to retire” or else we have failed. We treat the concept of retirement as the ultimate goal in life. To be able to wake up when we want, tinker around, travel to see the grandkids every couple of weeks, play golf when the mood strikes, go fishing in the middle of the week, or take a nap at 2:30 PM has been elevated to the point that people actually fear growing older because they fear they won’t be financially able to “retire.”
While all those activities do sound appealing, believe it or not, there actually ARE reasons you may not want to retire in the traditional sense … and not all of them are financial in nature.
1. You may really enjoy your work. If your work situation provides challenges, some fun, and a healthy dose of interest and respect to you, leaving those behind to putter around the house and carve old fashioned Santa’s out of balsa wood will be a mistake. If you have a passion for solving problems, a traditional retirement may not be your best bet.
2. Your skills and experience may be in higher demand than ever. With an anticipated shortage of knowledgeable workers just around the corner, you may find that your need to be needed is nicely fulfilled by companies who genuinely DO need you to perform that work you actually enjoy.
3. Remaining in the workforce pays … literally. No matter how small the income your job generates, it will stretch your resources to fund a longer traditional retirement down the road … should you desire make extra money to pad your retirement resources. Read Three Steps to Building Wealth Regardless of the Economy
4. By continuing to work, you delay tapping into your retirement accounts. A delay of several years can mean a bigger payout over time. Waiting to access your Social Security benefits, your 401(k), or other retirement accounts allows them to grow all the more, potentially allowing you to lower your withdrawal rate (if you haven’t saved enough) or allow you to withdraw more (if you have saved enough). But make sure you’re invested in the proper assets according to your personal tolerance for risk. Read Sample Portfolios According to Your Risk Tolerance.
5. If you wait until 65 to retire, you can potentially maintain your healthcare coverage. Some experts say that a 65-year-old couple retiring today would need some $200,000 in extra savings to cover basic medical costs … and potentially much more than that. By delaying, you save on individual premiums and allow your nest egg to grow.
6. Speaking of your health, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, complete retirement leads to an 11 percent decline in mental health, an 8 percent increase in illness, and a 23 percent increase in difficulty performing daily activities over a six-year period. Continuing to work keeps your mind sharp, your joints flexible, and your muscles limber.
7. Continuing to work may be better for your marriage. The Power Years: A User’s Guide to the Rest of Your Life says that couples think about their retirement years in terms of finances or long-delayed travel plans, but what they often neglect to prepare for is how to handle so much togetherness. Experts say that constant togetherness magnifies any existing problems and can bring long running tensions bubbling to the top. That closeness means more chances for daily battles with no office escape.
8. With no job demands bearing down, many retirees feel a loss of connectedness. For some, that isn’t so bad, but for many others, that loss of people to talk to about Monday Night Football or the latest stupid reality TV show at the water cooler is awful. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) cites multiple studies that depression is a rampant but often overlooked problem among retirees and that the loss of connectedness is a contributing factor.
9. Deciding to continue to work opens the door to more options. By not retiring, you might be able to start an entirely new life. You can teach, you can turn a hobby into a business, you can consult, you can try out a whole new career path. If you have saved enough, you can move to the coast, chase your grandchildren (if they’ve moved away), become a Grand Canyon tour guide, start a Bed and Breakfast Inn, or any one of a number of things. Working for a longer time doesn’t mean you have to continue doing exactly what you’re doing now, you CAN start another job if that is your choice.
10. Though many people cite financial reasons for not retiring, it all boils down to the desire to make a meaningful contribution. AARP says that 79 percent of all baby boomers plan to never retire. Some researchers have found that workers over the age of 50 actually are more engaged in the workplace than their junior peers in terms of time, dedication, and energy. We have a deep need to be involved, to voice our opinions, to make a significant contribution, and to feel that our efforts are important.
Retirement doesn’t have to be the end of your work-life; it doesn’t have to be a whole new beginning either. It CAN be a continuation of what you love doing, just in a different way if that’s what you want. Don’t get backed into the corner of thinking that retirement is just waiting to die. It isn’t just sitting around becoming an expert on Oprah, You may decide, like so many of your peers, that retirement can be the greatest time of your life by continuing to make contributions to life, to a company, or to society.
Retirement can be the opportunity to make your life exactly what you want it to be.
- Don’t Retire, REWIRE!
- Too Young to Retire: 101 Ways To Start The Rest of Your Life
- How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor
- Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation